Are Elizabeth Holmes and BLM founders two side of the same coin?
In 2014, Elizabeth Holmes was on top of the world. She was the founder of a company named Theranos, a $9-billion empire that had purportedly revolutionized health diagnostics.
No longer would the patient have to be subjected to painful, invasive, and expensive tests. Theranos claimed that its proprietary tests could detect ailments such as cancer merely with a few drops of blood with their device, named "Edison."
Elizabeth Holmes in 2016.
Behemoths of prestige, such as secretaries of state Henry Kissinger, George Schultz, and General James Mattis, were on the board. The likes of Rupert Murdoch were investors. She appeared on panels alongside Bill Clinton and delivered impassioned TED talks.
But an empire built on a lie will come crashing down someday. The foundation of Theranos was "Edison," which simply didn't function. Most of the results were complete falsehoods. Holmes's empire was built at the expense of innocent patients.
In 2018, a federal grand jury indicted Holmes on nine counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, with the victims being investors and patients. Now convicted, she faces up to 20 years in federal prison, plus potentially millions in restitution and fines. Her sentencing is scheduled for September 26, 2022.
She was arrogant, deluded, and foolish to think her fraud would not be discovered someday. In fact, it is astounding how she managed to block both internal and external regulatory authorities. It ultimately took whistleblowers and the WSJ to expose her fraud.
The people of BLM flourished where Holmes faltered.
"Black Lives Matter" began as a trend on social media in 2013, following Trayvon Martin's death. Soon it evolved into a slogan used by "protesters" all over the U.S.
BLM founders seem to have followed the business model pioneered by veteran race-hustler Al Sharpton, which is "give us your money, or we'll brand you racist."
However, it was the death of George Floyd in 2020 that took BLM, their movement, to prominence and made them the prime arbiters in matters of race.
People from show biz, sports, news media, academia, and politics donated generously to BLM and posted photos of Floyd and logos of BLM on social media.
Big Tech firms such as Google committed $12 million, Facebook and Amazon donated $10 million, and Apple pledged a whopping $100 million. Walmart announced a contribution of $100 million, while Target announced $10 million and Home Depot announced $1 million.
BLM managed to make $90 million in just one year over the death of George Floyd. Not content with only donations, BLM even began to sell merchandise.
If the donors did not bother to know how their money was spent, this suggests that is because it was protection money. They knew that by donating they could be "one of the good ones."
So what became of the money?
Last year, the N.Y. Post reported that BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors, then BLM's executive director, spent $3.2 million on various real estate properties within the U.S.
There were also reports of transactions where BLM transferred money to a Canadian nonprofit managed by the "wife" of Cullors in order to buy a $3-million house.
A few days ago, New York Magazine reported that in October 2020, BLM bought a 6,500-square-foot Southern California mansion. This is the very mansion where BLM founders were filmed sipping champagne and dining in luxury in one of BLM's videos posted on social media.
Although the property had originally been bought for $3.1 million, it was transferred to a Delaware company for $5.8 million. The discrepancy between these two figures has yet to be explained. Delaware is Joe Biden's home state and is known for its notoriously opaque corporate transparency rules. Perhaps that was the purpose behind the property being transferred to Delaware — to hide the proprietor's identity?
BLM claims to be dedicated to wealth distribution. It also claims that its mission is dismantling capitalism. Yet these people had no qualms about the purchase of the various luxury properties.
BLM also failed to file taxes for 2020, when it raised millions after George Floyd's death. The group has not made a full disclosure pertaining to its donations and expenditures, raising serious legal and ethical red flags.
The millions raised could have been invested in schools, colleges, universities, vocational training centers, hospitals, gyms, sports complexes, rehabilitation centers, and job centers, and to pay legal assistance for those in need.
Instead, BLM founders seem to have enriched themselves.
BLM also supported rioting, looting, and burning, causing losses ranging from $1 to $2 million. Most of this occurred in working-class localities and even hurt businesses run by black people.
BLM's relentless campaign of hate will have convinced a section of black people that the U.S. is systemically racist, causing them to believe that persecution is inevitable irrespective of qualifications or talents or hard work. This results in them giving up on life. Losses can be recovered and houses rebuilt, but once hope is lost, all is lost.
Unlike Elizabeth Holmes, BLM didn't make any tangible or quantifiable promises. Its goal was unstated, esoteric, and symbolic, which ensured that it could keep collecting without any oversight.
There is little difference between Holmes and BLM. Both profited by swindling those in need. Both made false promises raising millions of dollars. Both lived lavishly while their victims suffer. Both displayed an astounding lack of transparency about their activities. Both played with lives.
While Elizabeth Holmes's fraud could earn her 20 years in federal prison, BLM founders are unlikely to receive any such punishment. They simply have to brand their critics as racist.
But hoaxers such as these cause deep skepticism and cynicism among the public. A society plagued by skepticism and cynicism can never flourish.
Photo credit: Tali Mackay, CC BY-SA 4.0 license.